I went to a Catholic high school, starting my sophomore year. The ceremonies I attended inside our gymnasium were the first Catholic masses I had ever been to...it was all very strange to me. Prior to this, I had only been to Presbyterian churches. Eventually the time came in the mass for the Eucharist.
Now, keep in mind, at this time I was completely ignorant of the Catholic faith other than a few things: that they had a Pope, bishops, confessed their sins to priests, and prayed to Saints like Mary. I was also a new student, very nervous and timid.
So anyway, I noticed that people began lining up to drink from a cup of wine, and take what I thought was bread. At first I thought I shouldn't go up, since I wasn't Catholic...but then I thought "hey, we're all Christians, right?" Besides, I would have thought someone would tell me if I was supposed to do something different, and I figured I might be scolded or thought disrespectful if I remained in my seat.
In my Presbyterian church, the ceremony of the Eucharist was performed extremely rarely, and little square peices of actual bread were used. At this Catholic service, small coin-chaped crackers with crosses on them were used. As I came to the front of the line to receive my cracker, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I saw other people crossing themselves after they took the crackers...I tried to memorize "up, down, left, right".
I arrived. The priest said "Body of Christ" and held up the cracker in front of me. Instead of ceremoniously holding out my hands for the priest to place the cracker into, as everyone else had done, I awkwardly reached out and took the cracker out of his hands....and forgot to cross myself before moving on.
Now, imagine my horror when I looked down at the thing in my hands..."What the heck is this??! This isn't bread!"
Oh no--was I sure I saw anyone else actually PUT it in their MOUTH? I was certain that this small disk was made of cardboard....perhaps the cross in the middle was where you poke a candle through, so that it catches dripping wax...I had no idea.
I decided to gamble. I put the thing in my mouth to see if it was bread, hoping no one would see. Yep, I was right--it definitely tasted like cardboard. At this point, I felt very embarassed--what I moron I am, putting cardboard in my mouth in front of everyone else. I still wasn't positive that it was inedible, and wasn't sure what to do with it, so I took it out of my mouth and put it in my pocket, again hoping no one would see. I took a big, awkward gulp of the wine, forgot to cross myself again, and took my seat.
Unfortunately by the time I got back to my seat, the Eucharist had ended so I could no longer see what people were doing with their little cardboard disks. I noticed no one else had brought them back to their seats....
When the mass ended without a distribution of candles, I was very perplexed. As I walked out of the gym into the halls with the rest of the students, I felt in my pocket, and the cardboard coin was still there...what am I supposed to do with this? I didn't want to risk asking someone and looking like an idiot, so I clandestinely threw it into a trashcan I passed. Problem solved! Next time I'll pay closer attention to what people were doing with these things...
Well, later that year, I told a friend the embarrassing story. "Those crackers are the Body of Christ....you threw away Jesus!" I replied that they tasted like cardboard.... "It's unlevened bread...it sort of melts in your mouth. You threw away Jesus!"
I hope you guys aren't too mad at me, it was an honest mistake...how big of an offense is this?